Mobile apps are a large and growing industry.
A report by Statista estimates that mobile apps will generate more than 935 billion U.S. dollars by 2023.
With a shift toward personalization for the customer journey, app developers have their work cut out for them if they want to stand out.
The article, Top 11 Mobile App Trends to Watch Out For in 2021 lists the internet of things, managed marketplaces, and AR/VR technology as some of the changes you should expect to see in the coming years.
It seems there is an endless amount of possibilities in the world of mobile app marketing.
That said, a single question comes to mind.
How do you drive downloads for your app?
After Launching a New App. You have taken the time to develop a new app.
That’s great! But now you are probably wondering, what’s next?
After the initial launch, the time comes to turn your focus towards marketing, specifically, mobile app marketing. We’d love to tell you there is a single cut-and-dry solution to promoting a new app.
Unfortunately, there isn’t.
Achieving 50,000 (and even a million) app downloads takes a combination of techniques. Some may seem simple, while others take more time.
And yes, the process as a whole takes time. Be patient.
Depending on your budget, some of these solutions may even be out of your reach right now, and that’s okay. The key is finding the right combination for your brand.
What goes into getting 50,000 downloads on a new app?
The key to getting 50,000 app downloads is to take things slow. We know what you must be thinking. Slow? It’s not usually the pace developers want to move at after investing so much time into their latest app.
But slow means focusing your time and energy on a multifaceted approach for growth, rather than using quick, cheap tricks.
Consider this graphic from splitmetrics.com that breakdowns the process for App Store success.
App downloads come from a combination of search, paid, social traffic, and even word of mouth. You need all of these things in one form or another to increase your app downloads.
And achieving all of them takes time. SEO and App Store Optimization won’t make it happen.
Paid ads won’t make it happen. Content marketing won’t make it happen.
You need all these strategies, and more if you want to achieve a high app downloads number in the app store. There are of course things you can do to make each of those strategies simpler for you, though.
Here are the Top 10 Techniques to Get 50,000 app downloads.
Tip 1: SEO & App Store Optimization
The days of relying on paid advertising alone to promote an app are gone.
The cost-per-install may soon reach $4, and it can take thousands of installs per day to get into the TOP 10 on the Apple App Store list.
Focusing on the natural positioning of your is the best way to guarantee good marketing ROI. Also known as App Store Optimization (ASO). Having a sustainable ASO plan from the beginning will set your app up for success down the road.
According to an article by Split Metrics, “sticking to app store optimization best practices will help you grow the user base and sales, expand into new markets, and strengthen your brand in general.” But you’re probably wondering where to start.
a) Planning and Validation
You want to begin thinking about ASO before the app’s initial launch. Like any product launch marketing, you want to make a plan for who your app is designed for and then validate those plans through research.
Remember to consider:
- What is your target audience?
- Why do they need this app?
- Will it stand out in the competition and how?
Answering these questions will give you a deeper understanding of your users’ needs, and how their experience with similar applications will compare to your own.
b) Increasing Visibility
Thinking about how your app will rank in App Store search results is an essential part of the app development process.
We recommend 6 tips for App Store Optimization that can increase visibility.
I) Use effective keywords
Similar to Search Engine Optimization, you want to use words that are relevant to your app.
It’s important to find the middle ground between difficulty and popularity when you initially start. Adjusting as time goes on.
Consider researching the top-ranking competitors’ apps to determine which high-quality keywords to use.
II) Choose a dominant app name
It goes without saying that the first thing your audience will search for is the app’s name.
Creativity, illustration, and pronounceability are key!
However, don’t forget to also add a couple of keywords for the search engine.
Keep it relevant, but simple. The App Store cuts the title after the 23rd character, and Google Play after the 3rd.
So avoid overdoing it.
III) Write a catchy description
This is where you truly grab the users’ attention.
Like your title, keep the description short.
Focus on the most important features, adding in your call to action and social media links.
Your keywords will come back into play here as you’ll want to optimize the description for searchability.
IV) Keep an eye on the metadata
Make sure all the information related to your app is included.
Exclude anything irrelevant, and avoid an overload of excessive information.
If you’re having trouble, reference the App Store Review guidelines, and Google Play Store requirements.
V) Leverage in-app purchases
Selling something in your app itself gives you another opportunity to increase visibility.
The names of in-app purchases (AP) are indexed in the app store search.
Promoting products inside the app increases the likelihood of appearing in search results.
VI) Use Apple Search Ads
Yes, search ads can cost a lot. Despite that, they are worth building into your budget because they can help increase your app exposure greatly.
While setting up a campaign is not rocket science, it can take time.
Planning for search ads from the beginning will make the process easier. Incorporate your keywords and optimization strategies into their visibility.
Make use of search ad manager tools for cost-effective spending support. Users don’t necessarily know the difference between paid ads and organic search results in App Stores.
Capitalize on that.
c) Boosting App Downloads
The first impression of your app is going to be everything.
Aside from optimizing the written content, you’ll want to get the most out of your visuals.
Design a memorable icon. A simple, straightforward design draws in users at first glance.
Use screenshots to tell your app’s story. Add short, concise captions to the top or bottom of your screenshots to give context.
Stand out with an attention-grabbing preview video. Make those 10 seconds count.
Earn good reviews. Choose the right moment to request in-app ratings, and also gather feedback, to increase your chances of positive reviews.
Test everything you do. Compare every option against each other before making any final decisions.
Enhance your ads. Utilize universal app campaigns to create eye-catching ads that are run through A/B and Multivariate testing, to guarantee optimized conversion.
Tip 2: Social Media Optimization
You’ve built an amazing app. You launched it in the app store with the highest-performing keywords and visuals.
Everything on the backend works perfectly. And yet, there are no results.
Your app might be amazing, but it’s useless if you can’t get it into the hands of the consumer. App Store Optimization is a great tool to position your app for top rankings.
However, you can’t rely solely on that as your only source of new app downloads. Your brand must have an active social media presence to help promote the app. Leveraging social media marketing is a great way to connect with users, and drive app downloads.
a) Promote your app before it launches
Why wait until the launch date to start promoting your app? Take advantage of social platforms during the development stage to build anticipation around the app.
The sooner you get the app name out there, the faster it will start growing a following.
This ad from The Skep Home is a great example before the launch of the mobile app.
Run promotions similar to this on your existing social media accounts. Leveraging your already established audience is an easy way to get the word about your app.
Don’t have an established social media presence? This is something you’ll want to start as soon as possible.
Once you’ve established your brand across all social media channels, be sure you remain active. Engage with your audience. Offer relevant and exciting content. Continuously aim to grow your social media following.
You want to reach as many users as possible before your app’s launch.
Be sure to take advantage of the different features each social media platform offers.
Facebook is a great place to start for mobile marketing because the site has the most users compared to other channels. You can post original content, engage with users directly, and also run sponsored campaigns if you’re willing to invest a little extra to promote your app.
Facebook is an essential starting point for any business looking to grow its brand.
Primarily used for sharing pictures and videos, Instagram has recently added some new features that make it easier to market your products.
You can now include up to ten pictures in a single post. As well, videos can be up to a minute long. If you don’t want to post on Instagram every day, the story feature is still a great way to engage with your audience regularly.
The polling feature within Instagram stories is a quick and easy tool you can use to receive instant feedback from followers.
Running contests on Instagram is also an excellent way to increase your user engagement.
Contests encourage user-generated content, which results in organic and often, widespread promotion for your products.
Twitter is where you get to spread your creative wings. With only 280 characters per post, you have to be concise and to the point. While this platform sometimes takes a little strategizing. It can yield big results.
Consider using Twitter’s advanced search query to optimize your content and target the users who will connect most with your app.
YouTube is the ideal platform to connect with users who prefer to consume video content over any other kind of media.
Once you upload content to YouTube it becomes a thousand times easier to repurpose. Distributing your videos across other social media platforms is simple. Copy & paste the link into any post, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, or even small subscriptions.
The possibilities are endless!
b) Leverage Different Features
As social media grows, do the features each platform offers. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat all have live videos that allow you to connect with users in real time.
Make your brand stand out. Use hashtags to get your content trending.
The article How to Grow Your Social Media Following explains that “creating a powerful and successful hashtag campaign requires understanding your audience and the kind of things they’ll be happy to share”.
Tip 3: Google App Install Ads
Establishing a solid social media presence is a great way to connect with your brand’s direct users. Building an online following makes it easier to post and share organic content.
However, that should not cancel out the importance of direct marketing.
You want to reach as many users as possible. This includes people who are already downloading apps from the App Store and Google Play.
Universal App Campaigns (UAC) are a great way to find new users for your mobile app.
This type of ad allows you to advertise on Google’s largest ad networks, including search, display, YouTube, and the Google Play Store while managing ads in the Google Ads platform.
Google uses machine learning to show the most relevant ads to users. This way you can achieve the highest conversion rate for your campaign.
Universal App Campaigns are specifically designed to help generate more app installs. Google claims this method of advertising can drive 140% more conversion per dollar than other Google app promotion products.
This type of campaign is ideal for streamlining your ad to app users. Instead of having to run separate ads on individual sites, your ads will automatically show up on:
- Google Search
- Google Play
- Google Display Network
Your ads will also populate in placements exclusive to UAC, including the app and home listings pages in the Google Play Store. This way your ads are being promoted to users already searching for a new app.
How does it work?
As an advertiser, you won’t need to lift more than a few fingers. Google creates the ads based on the text and digital assets you set at the start.
From there, Google manages the bidding and targeting to maximize campaign results for your set goal and budget.
What you’ll need to do it manually:
- A daily budget
- A target cost-per-install or cost-per-action
- Target location
- Target languages
- Up to four different lines of a maximum of 25 characters in length
- A campaign start date (end date is optional)
We know what you’re thinking.
It’s that easy?
Yes. The goal behind Universal Ad Campaigns is to make the advertising process simpler. You determine the right objective for your brand from the start.
Follow the steps within your Google Ads account to set up the campaign.
And let Google’s automated machine learning do the rest.
Tip 4: Facebook Advertising
Facebook is the original social media. With a reach of 2.3 billion monthly users globally, it’s the ideal platform for brands looking to promote anything.
If you haven’t tapped into the Facebook Ad marketplace yet, there’s a good chance you’re missing out.
Take Westwing for example. Facebook app install ads helped their app gain traction with 5000 installs at 270% return on their ad spend.
mySupermarket also experienced success with its Facebook Ad campaign. Not only did their app installs increase, but they also expanded their community by gaining a 2000% jump in their page likes.
Don’t simply take our word for it. Facebook ads work. And Facebook knows that too. That is why the platform offers a variety of customization options for brands to target their users.
You know your users better than anyone. Why not narrow the promotional stream by targeting their likes, location, age demographic, and other uniquely defining traits?
Capitalizing on your existing market research will help drive future app downloads.
I) Creating a Facebook Ad
First, you want to set up a Facebook Page for your app. If you haven’t already.
From there you can create an adverts page designed to promote app installs.
Once you have set up your Adverts page, the next step is to set your audience and also budget. This is where customization comes into play.
You can choose from a wide range of options that will help narrow down the type of users you want to target. Your budget then depends on what your long-term goals are.
Facebook gives options for Daily and Lifetime budgets. This allows you to choose the best option for your business, and overall goals.
The final step is always optimization. Facebook’s automated ad process allows you to choose optimization settings based on your bidding wars for ad space.
Knowing how to optimize your ads is essential, especially when it comes to winning the bidding wars for ad space.
Tip 5: Content Marketing
There are around 2.2 million apps on the App Store and 2.8 million apps on the Google Play Store.
The competition is stiff, to say the least. Getting your app noticed, let alone earning a high ranking is a daunting task, even for the most experienced developers.
You shouldn’t panic though. There are still some tried and true methods of marketing you can trust to get the job done.
One of the most popular is Content Marketing.
Content marketing involves the unique combination of creating engaging promotional content, while also simultaneously promoting that content.
It isn’t enough to write and/or produce good content if no one is going to see it.
Like any product, you have to sell your content to users.
How do you do that?
Take it back to business 101.
Present your audience with a problem, and then tell them about how your app can help solve it.
Yes, it’s that easy — when done right.
There are several benefits a brand can experience when content marketing is used properly.
I) Increased Brand Awareness
Content marketing allows you to share your story. Establishing a unique voice helps boost brand awareness and engagement.
The more people who know about your brand, the more likely they are to download your product.
II) More Engagement Rate
To keep users coming back to your app, you need to share engaging in-app content.
Regularly creating and sharing engaging content helps you keep your audience’s attention.
Always remember to include a Call to Action at the end so your audience knows how you want them to proceed.
III) Build Trust
Trust is at the center of any sale. To build trust, you have to interact with your users consistently.
Content marketing allows you to position yourself as an expert. Once you establish a level of authority and trust, you’ll be able to boost the number of leads more easily.
IV) More Leads
Content marketing can be a huge source of traffic generation for your app. Any successful content engagement automatically results in a new lead, which then translates into new sales.
Also, content marketing has a conversion rate that is 6x higher than any other marketing strategy.
Providing 4x the ROI, why wouldn’t you want to invest your time here?
V) Higher Ranking Keywords
We’ve talked about it before, and we’re going to keep talking about it.
Leveraging keywords is essential. Including high-ranking keywords in all of your content marketing will help drive traffic through your users’ online searches.
This is where your SEO strategies come back into play.
VI) Improving Sales
Around 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying something.
Having a well-rounded content strategy means you have created a wide range of trustworthy sources your users can reference.
Whether they know your brand already, or not.
Tip 6: Collaboration with Bloggers and Influencers
You’ve probably heard of influencer marketing before. It’s an incredibly common practice used in one way, or another, by most brands out there.
As a marketing tool, marketing to influencers can help you impact your potential users and their decision-making process in a less abrasive fashion.
At the end of the day, everyone needs publicity.
With the help of influencers, you can create brand awareness and consideration for your product.
First, make a list of the influencers you want to reach out to.
You must consider who the right people are to promote your brand, and also your app.
Determine ahead of time if you want to try partnering with high-level influencers — which could depend on your budget — or maybe there is a better fit with minor influencers whose image fits better.
Either way, figuring out who you want to work with is important.
Second, start building relationships.
Networking is everything, and with influencers, there is no exception.
Engage with their content. Do your research. Get them to notice you organically.
No one likes a forced connection.
Use your existing social media platforms to share their content, or offer recommendations.
Once you have their attention, it becomes easier to get their support.
Third, offer to help them with their content.
Consider offering to help them with their content strategy.
Maybe you specialize in something that you think could help improve their brand.
Now is the time to think outside the box.
You want to stand out, in a good way.
Send them an email, or a direct message about the ways you think your team could contribute to their brand.
This could be a great way to initiate relationships before asking for direct promotions — especially with up-and-coming influencers.
Tip 7: Invite, Invite, Invite
The increasing number of apps in the app stores means users have an incredibly wide selection to choose from.
Your app could be the best on the market. Yet another might take all the attention away simply because its listing looks better.
It’s for this reason that you can’t rely on organic marketing and paid advertising alone. referral marketing, or word-of-mouth, has become more important than ever.
According to Nielson, 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know.
Creating an engaging user experience, leveraging in-app notifications, and also improving retention rates are key factors.
This involves persuading your existing app users to promote the product to their networks.
The tactic includes them sending an invite to their friends and family to join the app because they enjoy it so much.
For referral marketing to be effective, however, you must first provide a great user experience.
It should be designed so they ‘feel’ like they want to invite their network to join.
According to The Tool, referred users are 18% more loyal than those acquired through other channels of marketing. Also, the lifetime value of a referred user is 16% higher than your average smartphone user. This not only reduces your churn rate but helps improve the retention rate of your app.
A consistent retention rate makes it easier to understand how users want to interact with your app. This data will allow you to improve the overall in-app experience, creating a viral loop of acquisition.
Tip 8: Email Marketing
We know what you’re thinking, isn’t email a little old school?
Yes, it is.
But despite that, it remains one of the most crucial aspects of creating a strong overall marketing strategy. In a recent study, Statista found that 49% of consumers want to receive weekly promotional emails from their favorite brands. Email marketing contributes greatly to customer engagement and also long-term retention.
Whether you’re a small or midsize app business, this should be a critical component of your strategy. According to Adjust.com, 81% of businesses this size rely on emails for user acquisition, while 80% use email marketing to retain valuable users. You can put together an email marketing campaign in a few simple steps.
First, set your targets.
Like any marketing campaign, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your goals from the beginning.
Whether you’re looking to increase ROI, improve engagement, or overall growth, the objective needs to be clear.
The decisions you make at the beginning will inform everything moving forward.
Second, develop your email marketing strategy.
Once your targets have been defined, decide the type of creative content you want to use. This will help you find the right service provider to support your campaign’s needs. After you select an email service provider, build a detailed mailing list of existing as well as potential customers.
Be sure your emails are optimized for desktop and mobile display before launch.
Studies have shown that 70% of emails that display incorrectly on mobile will be deleted within three seconds, with 15% of users choosing to unsubscribe as a result.
Review everything ahead of time to ensure the best user experience.
Third, conduct A/B testing on your email campaigns. A/B testing is an effective way to fine-tune your creativity as well as have confidence that your campaign has been optimized for the best results.
Collect data as you go to inform your overall strategy.
Fourth, perform post-launch troubleshooting and analysis.
Even with the best plans in place, it’s likely you will still experience some issues with your campaign. To achieve the best possible results you should collect regular data and also feedback from email recipients. This information will help you optimize future campaigns.
Don’t be discouraged by negative feedback. Any insights from valuable customers are essential to creating an optimal user experience.
Analyze the collected data by comparing your pre-launch targets against the actual results.
Take what you have learned about your users’ behavior and apply it to future campaigns for an increased ROI down the line.
Tip 9: App Directory Sites
You’ve done all the work optimizing your internal app promotions.
Now your website is launched. Your keywords have been researched as well as implemented. Your business is set up and also engaged across all social media platforms and your email marketing campaign is live.
Once you’ve optimized all the internal promotional tools for marketing your app, the next step is to leverage external sources. App marketing is all about PR and media coverage at the end of the day. Like any product, the more coverage there is about your app, the more potential users will hear about it.
Similar to sending out a press release, app directories offer an easy, streamlined platform for promotion.
Some of these sites include:
- Product Hunt: This site allows you to have a featured page with all the information you need about your service. You can then interact directly with interested customers by answering questions as well as communicating one-on-one.
- BetaList: featuring both apps and startups, BetaList offers all its features for free, with the option for a paid ad on the front page for only $129.
- The Startup Pitch: focused around content, this unique site makes it easy for you to post pitches about your company, alerting your active user base about what is coming.
- Launching Next: with both a blog, newsletter, as well as trending startups section, Launching Next is a great place to take advantage of the benefits of email marketing, as well as online marketing.
- Hacker News: with a very supportive and engaged community, this well-known tech site provides an online space for self-promotion and constructive feedback.
- AppGratis: AppGratis works by offering a paid app every day for free. While you may lose some profits in the short run, there is an opportunity to improve your referral ratings long term.
- App Store: a curation site for content based on different apps for different platforms, App Storm frequently writes lists and pieces about different apps, which can be pitched to them through their site.
- r/Startups: the Reddit Startups section can be a great place for you to connect with fellow entrepreneurs, while simultaneously promoting your app and gathering constructive feedback for future strategies.
- Springwise: while Springwise is its service, they keep a newsletter for customers outlining other apps they should be keeping an eye on. With an effective business pitch, you could get yourself published and gain exposure to a potential competitor’s customer base.
Tip 10: Run a Contest
The groundwork has been laid out for marketing your app. You’ve put in the hard work. Now it’s time to have some fun.
Running a contest can be an effective way to increase app downloads and engagement. In a few simple steps, potential users are given the chance to win a reward, while you reap the benefits of new user interactions.
The easiest contests to run involve the basic requirements of downloading the app, as well as filling out a sign-up form for a chance to win. What better way is there to promote your new or existing app than with a fun contest?
All you need to do is:
I) Choose a fun reward
Before you do anything else, you need to determine what type of reward you want to offer for the contest.
A contest cannot be successful without compelling incentives to participate. This can be anything from a free trip to coupons, or even a gift card.
Whatever the reward is, it doesn’t have to come at a great cost to you. It merely needs to pick the interest of your potential users.
II) Setting up the form
The next step is to create a sign-up form to track contest entries. This can be done through services such as Google Form, SurveyMonkey, or EmailMeForm.
When setting up the form, only ask for the minimum amount of information needed to run the contest. The more information required, the less likely someone may be to complete the whole form. Especially if they are filling it out on their phone.
Make sure the essential information is indicated as ‘required’ so no information gets missed.
III) Integrating into the app
Creating a custom card on the home cards tab of your app is the best way for you to build the contest into your app.
Include an image, a basic description of the contest, and then a direct link to the form.
For maximum visibility have the card pop up at the top when the user first opens the app.
You want to make sure it’s the first thing they see after downloading the app.
IV) Promoting the contest
This is where all your previous set-up channels come back into play.
Talk about the contest everywhere.
Send an email, post across all social media, and make regular announcements. Leverage all your platforms to get users talking about your contest.
V) And the winner is
When the contest ends, take the time to review the results and remove any duplicate entries or errors from the list.
You can then randomly select a winner from the remaining entries. This is where it gets exciting. You could announce the winner using a standard post online.
However, to continue building your engagement it’s better to make an event out of it.
Upload a video to your social channels. Engage with the user directly and have them share their experience.
Use the contest results as a means to create additional promotional content for the app. The more connected your users feel to the experience, the more likely they will be to participate in the future.
There is no one size fits all solution to improving engagement or increasing app downloads. Instead, you need to have a clear understanding of your goals from the start.
Then build a strategy using a combination of techniques that not only works best for your business but also your budget.
Every decision you make will inform the next.
Like any product, mobile app marketing relies on your ability to optimize every tool available, while leveraging various networks and content.
At Markovate, we specialize in a wide variety of digital marketing strategies that can help you achieve your mobile app objectives. Connect with us today to start finding the right solutions for your business!